I. N. Tarasov

Abstract. Ethnic policy in Latvia has a complicated history. It was shaping itself during the resto-ration period of Latvia’s independence and through fierce struggle of political forces that under-stood the country’s future in radically different ways. The victory of the center-right politicians in the middle of the 1990s secured the ethnocratic nature of Latvian policy that was based on de-sovietization of the Baltics. The leftists were busy accumulating social and economic inter-ests of the Russian-speaking population that was excluded from political life. It became clear that by the end of the XX century the policy of segregation had failed ipso facto securing the bi-community of Latvian society. The attempt to move on to the policy of integration met with the opposition of the ultra-rights, thus causing the polarization of the society. Attempt at natu-ralization has brought down the acuity of the problem of non-citizenship to some extent; at the same time, EU accession resulted in the fall of the Russian-speaking population interest in their fight for Latvian citizenship. Immigrants from Latvia, irrespective of the color of their passport, found themselves in the comparable living and working conditions inside the EU. It is important to emphasize that while in its legal part the ethnic policy of Latvia moved away from segregation tactics in favor of integration, there occurred the substitution of integration for experiments in assimilation in language and educational policy. The ethnic policy of Latvia reached a deadlock, now that the politicians are not able to carry out reforms, even though they are aware of negative demographic and migration trends, while ethno-linguistic communities can hardly formulate the requirements to avoid threatening the statehood of Latvia.

Keywords: Latvia, ethnic policy, national minorities, Russian-speaking population, identity.
DOI: 10.31429/26190567-20-2-34-44